The release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is quite literally upon us now, and many are hoping to jump in the second it becomes playable.

However, while most Switch games launch on time, some suffer from minor delays. We’re going to explain exactly what you need to know if this happens with Tears of the Kingdom.

Is Zelda Tears of The Kingdom Playable Exactly on the Hour?

Tears of the Kingdom should be playable exactly on the hour, as soon as it launches. However, if you can’t access TOTK the second it is supposed to release, don’t worry.

Most first-party Nintendo titles, like TOTK, should release on time, but this isn’t always the case. Some games have been delayed in the past, with delays lasting up to ten minutes.

Of course, if you’re unsure if Tears of the Kingdom has released where you are, you can check out our guide showing the exact times it launches across the world.

So, if you can’t access TOTK immediately, wait a few minutes and try again. If you find it still isn’t working, then you may have to wait a few hours.

While this is very unlikely to happen with Tears of the Kingdom, some users in the past had reported needing to wait a few hours for the eShop to update before a game became playable.

If you’re still struggling to get into Tears of the Kingdom or don’t want to wait long to hop into Hyrule, we have a few fixes below that you can try.

Tears of the Kingdom “You Cannot Play This Software” Fixes

If your digital copy of Tears of the Kingdom won’t launch even after the release time has passed, follow these steps:

  • Wait 10 minutes. There have been a few instances of Nintendo Switch game launches being delayed, and if this is the case with TOTK, then waiting a short while will rectify the issue.
  • Wait until the US launch time. If you are not based in the US, your launch time window will likely be slightly earlier than the US. While unlikely, it may be a case of waiting until the US release time.
    • Tears of the Kingdom launch at 9 PM PT in the US. That is 5 AM BST / 6 AM CEST, for example.
  • Restart your console. Sometimes rebooting your console can help rectify the issue.
    • To restart your Switch, remove it from its dock and hold down the power button at the top.
  • Check your internet connection. You need a stable internet connection for your Switch to confirm that the release time has passed. If you aren’t connected to the internet, it won’t work.
  • Reinstall Tears of the Kingdom. As a last-ditch attempt, you can try reinstalling your copy. However, we advise you to exhaust all other methods first, as reinstalling it may take some time.

Fortunately, it seems the wait may be worth it, as the staggering amount of reviews are all praising Tears of the Kingdom.

The error message that appears when you try and play Tears of the Kingdom early

Do You Need to Connect to the Internet to Play Tears of the Kingdom?

If you have pre-loaded a digital copy of Tears of the Kingdom, then you will need to be connected to the internet when you first play it.

This is because your Nintendo Switch needs to confirm that the release date has passed and you are officially allowed access to the game.

If you are not connected to the internet, you will receive the error message, “Could not connect to the internet. Please check your settings.”

the internet connection warning on a Nintendo Switch

However, if you download Tears of the Kingdom post-launch or have a physical copy, then you will not need an internet connection to play it.

Additionally, once you have used the internet to confirm it has been released, you won’t need it to play TOTK again after that.

Former Staff Writer
Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.